Top Best Performing Precious Metal Mutual Fund of 2010: Gold, Silver, Minerals

Introduction

Investing in gold commodities or silver can be done several different ways. One of the ways is investing in precious metals and minerals mutual funds. Investment in this asset class can provide additional diversification for any investor’s portfolio. This precious metal mutual fund is also considered as specialty sector mutual fund. There are many rules of thumb in investing in precious metals mutual fund. Most experts will suggest 5-10% investment in this asset class can provide additional safety to combat any economic uncertainty. The precious metals and minerals mutual funds hold assets consisting of mining company stocks and gold bullion coins. For investor, please note that investing in this mutual fund may be more volatile than other equity mutual fund or stock mutual funds. Several reasons are: the price of gold may fluctuate day by day due to gold future prices fluctuation and the mining company is rather small or medium size, usually the beta of this company stock is higher than 1 (i.e. more volatile).

Two other alternatives of gold commodities investment are


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Top 10 Best Precious Metals Mutual Funds of 2010

I always use the following four criteria when I filtered the best performing mutual funds. The four criteria of choosing best performing precious metals mutual fund of 2010 are:

  1. The Year To Date (YTD) is the highest in its own class.
  2. The fund total asset is more than 500 million
  3. It has Morningstar Rating of 2 stars or more
  4. It is not part of leveraged or bear fund

Note: Some of these funds may have a sales load (Front End Sales Load or Deferred Sales Load), please try to find other classes which don’t have a sales load or max 12b1 fee.

You will need a brokerage account to buy these best mutual funds, please check my brokerage articles.

Top 10 Best Performers Precious Metals & Minerals Mutual Fund of 2010 are:

  1. Tocqueville Gold
  2. Van Eck International Investors Gold A
  3. Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals A
  4. Franklin Gold and Precious Metals A
  5. U.S. Global Investors Wld Prec Minerals
  6. USAA Precious Metals and Minerals
  7. Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals A
  8. DWS Gold & Precious Metals A
  9. American Century Global Gold A
  10. GAMCO Gold A


Best Precious Metals Fund of 2010 Info

(click column header to sort results)
No  
Mutual Funds Description  
Ticker  
Rank %  
Morningstar Rating  
Yield  
Expense ratio  
Total Asset (Bil)  
Min. To Invest  
1
Tocqueville Gold
TGLDX
2
4
0.00%
1.50%
2.45
$1,000
2
Van Eck Intl Investors Gold A
INIVX
3
4
2.47%
1.43%
1.71
$1,000
3
Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals A
OPGSX
6
3
1.28%
1.12%
4.78
$1,000
4
Franklin Gold and Precious Metals A
FKRCX
15
3
3.95%
0.95%
4.04
$1,000
5
U.S. Global Investors Wld Prec Minerals
UNWPX
20
2
2.76%
1.58%
0.82
$5,000
6
USAA Precious Metals and Minerals
USAGX
24
4
1.16%
1.19%
2.34
$3,000
7
Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals A
EKWAX
28
4
0.00%
1.08%
1.56
$1,000
8
DWS Gold & Precious Metals A
SGDAX
40
2
1.20%
1.42%
0.69
$1,000
9
American Century Global Gold A
ACGGX
43
2
0.26%
0.94%
1.31
$2,500
10
GAMCO Gold A
GLDAX
49
2
1.25%
1.46%
0.72
$1,000
Updated: 2/8/2011

1. Tocqueville Gold

Tocqueville Asset Management offers flexible investment management for institutional groups such as corporate pension plans, grants and foundations. The investment pursues long-term capital appreciation. The fund can be invested at least 80% of total assets in gold and securities of companies throughout the world that are engaged in processing gold or mining. It may invest >20% of total assets directly in gold bullion and other precious metals. 

Tocqueville Gold is one of the best mutual fund in Precious Metal Specialty Sector.The fund is managed by John C. Hathaway since 1998. The expense ratio of this fund (TGLDX) is 1.50%. There is 12b1 fee of maximum 0.25% but with no sales load (front end sales load & deferred sales load). The minimum balance to invest in this fund is $1,000 for brokerage account, $250 for IRA account and $1,000 for AIP account. TGLDX can be purchased in around 97 brokerages, such as Northwestern Mutual Inv Srvc, LLC, Protected Investors of America, E TRADE Financial, Pershing Fund Center, Schwab Institutional, TD Ameritrade, Inc., JPMorgan, T. Rowe Price, CommonWealth PPS, Fidelity Retail FundsNetwork, Schwab Retail, etc.

The fund performance is as follows (TGLDX):

  • 1 Year: 47.08% per year
  • 3 Year: 22.87% per year
  • 5 Year: 25.99% per year
  • 10 Year: 29.22% per year

Note: This return is an annualized return

TGLDX has 93.6% equities in Gold and Gold Related Industry Weightings and 6.4% in precious metals. As of January 2011, the Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include Physical Gold, Goldcorp, Inc., Osisko Mining Corporation, Gold Resource Corporation, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., Silver Wheaton Corp, Newmont Mining Corporation, International Tower Hill Mines Ltd., Randgold Resources Limited and Eldorado Gold Corp.


Van Eck Fund holding
Van Eck Fund holding

2. Van Eck Intl Invstrs Gold A

The Van Eck International Investors Gold Fund offers exposure to a distinct asset class that most of the time well-performed during the economic and political uncertainty. It is as well historically been considered a storehouse of value. The Investor Gold Fund also provides potential in volatile equity markets or periods of high inflation also the diversification benefits through historically low correlations to traditional asset classes.

The investment pursues long-term capital appreciation. The lead manager for this fund is Joseph M. Foster since 1998. The fund invests most of its assets (>80%) in securities of gold companies. The rest 12.5% of assets is invested in gold or silver coins and gold, platinum, silver, and palladium bullion. The fund also invests in open end fund, closed end funds and exchange traded funds.

The fund has returned 27.21% over the past five years and 29.28% over the past decade. This fund is also offered in most IRA, 401K fund, and 529 account selection. Other tickers of this fund are:  INIVX, IIGCX, INIIX and INIYX. For INIIX ticker, the minimum initial investment for brokerage account is $1,000,000 while for the other ticker is only $1,000.

Best Precious Metals Mineral Mutual Fund


3. Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals A

Oppenheimer Funds is considered as one of the biggest and most respected asset management companies in the United States. Oppenheimer Fund is well known by many investors because it is part of MassMutual Financial Group. And the majority owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals fund invests in securities that offer exposure to gold and other precious metals as well for those who seek capital appreciation. Most of the asset is invested in common stocks of U.S. and foreign companies that are involved in mining, processing or dealing in gold or minerals or other metals.

The fund investing strategy will provide the fund manager combines industry-wide or "top-down" analysis with rigorous company-specific, or "bottom-up," fundamental analysis to find potential investments. The fund manager is Shanquan Li which has been joining since 1997. The expense ratio of this fund (OPGSX) is 1.12%. For this OPGSX fund ticker, it has 12b1 fee of 0.24% and a front end sales load of 5.75% since it is part of load fund. The minimum balance for investing in this fund is $1,000 for brokerage account and $500 for IRA account.

The fund performance is as follows (OPGSX):

  • 1 Year: 35.10% per year
  • 3 Year: 15.06% per year
  • 5 Year: 25.93% per year
  • 10 Year: 26.71% per year

This OPGSX fund is also offered in most IRA retirement account, 401K account, and 529 account selection. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee, and no front end sales charge fee. Other class tickers of this fund are: OGMBX, OGMCX, OGMNX and OGMYX. For OGMYX ticker, there is no sales charge.

The primary fund portfolio consists of large cap growth stocks with 94.4% asset in Basic Materials sector. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd, Randgold Resources Ltd. ADR, Kinross Gold Corp, Newcrest Mining, Barrick Gold Corp, Goldcorp Inc, Oppenheimer Institutional Money Market Fund (cash), IAMGOLD Corp, Eldorado Gold Corp, and Companhia de Minas Buenaventura SA ADR. The top 6 countries of fund as November 2010 are Canada, USA, Australia, Jersey, Channel Islands, South Africa and Peru.


4. Franklin Gold and Precious Metals A (FKRCX)

The Franklin Gold and Precious Metal Fund seeks to invest the majority (>80%) of its net assets in the securities of gold, platinum, palladium and silver mining companies. Steve Land, the lead manager since 1999, said that precious metals are attractive because they are a hard asset that's not tied to a particular country or financial system, potentially providing stability in times of economic uncertainty.  The fund also will invest a substantial portion of assets in companies falling within the small-cap (< $1.5 billion market cap) and medium-cap (market cap between $1.5 billion and $8 billion) range. The gross and net expense ratio of this class A fund (FKRCX) is 0.95% with 3.95% yield. It also has 12b1 fee of 0.25% and a front end sales load of 5.75% since it is part of load fund. The minimum balance to invest in this fund is $1,000 for brokerage account and $250 for IRA account. The fund has returned 25.58% over the five years.

This fund is also offered in most IRA retirement account, 401K account, and 529 account selection. Other class tickers of this fund are: FAGPX, FRGOX and FGADX. For FGADX ticker, there is no sales charge and the expense ratio is only 0.70%. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee, and no front end sales charge fee.

The primary fund portfolio consists of large cap growth stocks with 94.0% asset in Basic Materials sector. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include Newcrest Mining Ltd, Randgold Resources Ltd, Centerra Gold Inc, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd, Nevsun Resources Ltd, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd, Barrick Gold Corp, Osisko Mining Corp, Goldcorp Inc, and Centamin Egypt Ltd. There are total of 120 positions in the fund portfolio. The top 6 countries of fund as November 2010 are Canada, Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom and USA (United States of America).

US Global Inv World Precious Minerals Fund Holding
US Global Inv World Precious Minerals Fund Holding

5. U.S. Global Investors Wld Prec Minerals (UNWPX)

U.S. Global Investors, Inc. is known as an investment management firm. It specializes in gold and natural resources as well emerging markets and global infrastructure opportunities around the world. It also manages funds for international clients.

The U.S. Global Investors World Precious Minerals Fund investment seeks long-term growth of capital plus protection against inflation and monetary instability. The fund invests the majority of its assets (>80%) in the mining, fabrication, processing, marketing, or distribution of precious metals including gold, silver, platinum group, palladium and diamonds. It focuses on choosing companies with reputable producing mines. This fund participates in initial public offerings (IPOs), private placements, and long-term equity anticipation securities (LEAPS).

Frank E. Holmes, formerly President and Chairman of the Toronto Society of the Investment Dealers Association, has been the Fund Manager since 1999. The minimum balance to invest in this fund is $5,000 for brokerage account and $100 for IRA account. The expense ratio for this fund is 1.58% which is higher compared to the average ratio on the category is 1.47%. The fund performance for the last three years is 9.30% and 21.29% for the past five years.

The asset allocation of total net investments as of January 2011 is 88.75% in equities, 9.84% in cash and cash equivalents, 1.41% in bonds. The top 10 largest holdings as a percent of total net assets as of January 2011 are Kinross Gold Corp., Randgold Resources Ltd., Barrick Gold Corp., Dundee Precious Metals, Inc., Silver Wheaton Corp., Centamin Egypt Ltd., Gran Colombia Gold Corp., Goldcorp, Inc., Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. and the last one, Silvercorp Metals, Inc.


6. USAA Precious Metals and Minerals (USAGX)

USAA Precious Metals and Minerals Fund seek to provide long-term capital appreciation and protection against inflation. The fund invests > 80% of assets normally in the equity securities of domestic and foreign companies principally engaged in gold exploration, mining, or processing and other precious metals and minerals, such as silver, platinum and diamonds. The fund is managed by Rachel Benepe since 2009. There is no 12b1 fee and front end sales load since it is part of no load fund. The minimum balance to invest in this fund is $3,000 for brokerage account and $250 for IRA account. The fund has returned 29.38% over the past five years and 31.39% over the decade. As of December 2010, this fund recorded 14 years up in return and 10 years down. The expense ratio of this class A fund (USAGX) is 1.19% per year. The other class ticker is UPMMX. There is no 12b1 fee for USAGX, but there is for UPMMX (0.25%).

The primary fund portfolio consists of large cap growth stocks with 100.0% asset in Basic Materials sector. The top 6 countries of fund as November 2010 are Canada, USA, South Africa, Australia, and Mexico. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include cash (6.52%), Eldorado Gold Corp, Silver Wheaton Corp, Red Back Mining Inc, Randgold Resources Ltd, Newmont Mining Corp, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd ADR, Royal Gold Inc, Impala Platinum holdings, and Newcrest Mining Ltd.


7. Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals A (EKWAX)

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company providing banking, investments, mortgage, insurance, and consumer and commercial finance. It has $1.2 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo Bank is known as one of the Top 5 big financial banks in the USA.

The Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals fund invests most of its assets (>80%) in precious metals investment. The fund also invests in foreign issuers stocks, in emerging market equity securities and precious metals producers bonds or preferred stocks.

The fund is managed by Michael P. Bradshaw since 2006. This fund is also offered in most IRA retirement account, 401K account, and 529 account selection. Other class tickers of this fund are: EKWDX, EKWBX, EKWCX and EKWYX. For EKWYX ticker, minimum investment balance for brokerage account is $5,000,000 but it files the highest return percentage with the lowest expense ratio (0.82%) compared to others. There 12b1 fee for EKWDX, EKWYX and EKWAX is 0.00%. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee, and no front end sales charge fee. The minimum balance to invest in this fund is $5,000 for brokerage account and $250 for IRA account. With the average of 23.65% of 5-year return, this fund has returned 13.20% in the past three years and 28.44% in the past decade.

8. DWS Gold & Precious Metals A (SGDAX)

DWS Investments is the largest mutual fund company in its home country, Germany. DWS was founded in 1956 and its activities span not only Europe. The DWS Investments brand has been rolled out to other countries and products across the Americas and Asia Pacific over the last few years. The investment process can provide exposure to small-cap and large-cap companies operating along the entire industry value chain. It seeks maximum return of principal change and income.

The DWS Gold & Precious Metals fund investment of the net assets (±80%) in common stocks and other equities of US and foreign to gold, silver, platinum or other precious metals companies. Pierre Martin is the fund manager for this fund since 2009. The expense ratio is 1.42% which is almost equal to the average in the category (1.47%). There is 0.24% maximum of the 12b1 fee and 5.75% of sales load. The minimum balance to invest in this fund is $1,000 for brokerage account and $500 for IRA account. The best 1-year total return in 2003 is 94.20%, while the fund has returned 14.15% for the last 1-year and 15.63% in the last three year. This fund is also offered in most IRA retirement account, 401K account, and 529 account selection.

Other class tickers of this fund are SGDIX and SCGDX. The SGDIX ticker is recorded for having the highest return percentage and has the lowest expense ratio (1.07%) compared to the other two tickers. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee, and no front end sales charge fee.

The portfolio composition of this fund is 91% in gold mining sectors, 4% in platinum mining, 3% in silver and 2% in physical gold sector. The largest equity holdings as of January 2011 are Barrick Gold, Newcrest Mining, Kinross Gold, Goldcorp, Yamana Gold, Newmont Mining, IAMGOLD, Eldorado Gold, AngloGold Ashanti and Agnico-Eagle Mines.

9. American Century Global Gold A (ACGGX)

American Century Investments has proven itself as a valuable partner in helping individual to achieve their goals through an abiding commitment to investment management and confidence in the investment practices. The American Century Global Gold investment pursues capital appreciation and current income. The 80% of the net assets is invested in securities of Gold Companies as well in companies engaged in mining, processing, exploring for or otherwise dealing with other precious metals such as silver and platinum. It invests in securities of both U.S. and foreign companies including emerging markets companies.

This fund is also offered in most IRA retirement account, 401K account, and 529 account selection. The fund is managed by William B. Martin since 1992. This fund can be purchased from 70 brokerages, such as JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley - Brokerage Accounts, Fidelity Institutional FundsNetwork, Northwestern Mutual Inv Srvc, LLC, Firstrade, ETrade No Load Fee, etc. The minimum balance for a brokerage account investment is $2,500. The expense ratio is 0.94.

The fund performance is as follows (ACGGX):

  • 1 Year: 21.04% per year
  • 3 Year: 11.04% per year
  • 5 Year: 17.52% per year
  • 10 Year: 24.04% per year

Other class tickers of this fund are AGGNX, BGEIX and AGGWX. For AGGNX and BGEIX ticker, there is no 12b1 fee and the expense ratio is lower compared to the other two (below 0.70%). The 12b1 fee for ACGGX is 0.25% and 0.50% for AGGWX. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee, and no front end sales charge fee.

The overall portfolio composition in percentage is 0.87%in cash and 99.13% in stocks. While the top holdings with around 60% of total assets include Barrick Gold Corp., Newmont Mining Corp., Randgold Resources Limited, Compania Mina Buenaventura, Eldorado Gold Corp, Agnico-Eagle Mines and Industrial Alliances Ins & Fins.


10. GAMCO Gold A (GLDAX)

The GAMCO Gold is the fund family of Gabelli. The GAMCO Gold investment objective is for long-term capital appreciation. It is a portfolio of equity securities for both domestic and international gold mining. The fund invests at least 80% of the net assets on it. The Fund pursues to accomplish its goal by focusing on undervalued stocks with favorable prospects for growth. The fund may invest in foreign companies including emerging markets companies.

Since the fund’s inception in 1994, it has been managed by Caesar M. P. Bryan. The expense ratio is 1.46% and there is 0.25% of 12b1 fee. The minimum balance to invest in this fund is $1,000 for brokerage account and $250 for IRA account. With 1.25% yield, this fund has returned 19.71% in the past five years and 26.03% in the past ten years.

This fund is also offered in most IRA retirement account, 401K account, and 529 account selection. The top 10 holdings companies are Newcrest Mining Ltd., Randgold Resources Ltd., Agnico-Eagle Mines ltd., Goldcorp Inc., Fresnillo Plc, Newmont Mining Corp., Barrick Gold Corp., Gold Fields Ltd., Eldorado Gold Corp. and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. The geographic diversification has included 5 top countries, North America (52.3%), Australia (14.7%), South Africa (12.2%), United Kingdom (8.3%) and Other (12.5%).


Other Brokerage to consider:

  • Firsttrade - Trade stock online or option for $6.95 per trade. Customer also has access to NTF utual Funds
  • Scottrade - Buy or sell stock online or option for $7.00 per trade. Customer also has access to NTF Mutual Funds
  • Zecco - Get 10 free trades per months with $25,000 account balance. Investor can trade mutual funds as well.

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of these mutual funds. I also have no position in any of these funds. Please do your own research for additional details. Please trade and invest responsibly. Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results.

Mutual Funds Performance

(click column header to sort results)
No  
Mutual Funds Description  
Ticker  
1 Yr  
3 Yr  
5 Yr  
10 Yr  
1
Tocqueville Gold
TGLDX
47.08%
22.87%
25.99%
29.22%
2
Van Eck Intl Investors Gold A
INIVX
28.66%
18.13%
27.21%
29.28%
3
Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals A
OPGSX
35.10%
15.06%
25.93%
26.71%
4
Franklin Gold and Precious Metals A
FKRCX
26.04%
15.59%
23.42%
23.94%
5
U.S. Global Investors Wld Prec Minerals
UNWPX
38.72%
9.30%
21.29%
28.74%
6
USAA Precious Metals and Minerals
USAGX
27.94%
19.01%
27.72%
31.39%
7
Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals A
EKWAX
17.15%
13.20%
22.20%
28.44%
8
DWS Gold & Precious Metals A
SGDAX
14.51%
6.04%
15.63%
23.60%
9
American Century Global Gold A
ACGGX
21.04%
11.04%
17.52%
24.04%
10
GAMCO Gold A
GLDAX
15.25%
10.45%
19.71%
26.03%
Updated: 2/8/2011

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